What can YOU do to help?

Climate issues in philosophy have been in the news recently.  You might be asking: “What can I do to help?”  Any movement needs people who are committed to the cause and have the capacity or resources to contribute.  The more help and support behind a cause, the more can be accomplished.

Here are some things that one can do to promote the inclusion of women and minorities in philosophy:

  • Educate yourself about what it takes to be an active bystander.

  • Learn about micro-messaging and how to counter micro-aggressions with micro-affirmations. (See Scully and Rowe 2009, esp. pp. 4ff.)

  • Share experiences that have positive outcomes with colleagues.

  • Be a good listener to concerns.  (If you are’t sure how to be a good listener, consider these tips.)

  • Reach out to individuals you know to be a target of offensive behavior.  Offer support.  Consider taking these steps if you know of a case of sexual misconduct. (Thanks Heidi L.!)

  • Work on inclusion in your teaching: call on a diverse group of participants in the class, use examples that are likely to appeal to a broad range of students–and not always “he…” , spread philosophical discussion around the room, diversify the curriculum.

  • Say what needs to be said in your own voice, and to communities (if you belong to them) who need to hear the news.  Be willing to spend some of your banked credibility on getting the message heard. The more ways the message is spread, and the more directions it’s spread in, the more likely it is to get creative and effective uptake.

  • If you read a blog that disparages the work of women or minorities, step up and express your concern.  This might be by adding a comment on the post, or by mentioning your concern to a colleague.  More generally, don’t just go along with the negative comments made by others in your community.

  • Realize that sometimes your well-intentioned efforts might be misdirected. Be ready to self-evaluate your actions and be open to feedback from others concerning your actions.

  • Don’t expect members of affected groups to educate you about their situation and how to improve it.  Educate yourself.

  • Download the “Speak Up!” guide from the Southern Poverty Law Center and distribute it to your department.

  • Stand up to bullying.

  • Volunteer to help existing efforts to change the climate of philosophy.

  • Donate to the APA Fund for Diversity and Inclusiveness.

Add your suggestions in the comments!

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